Saturday, May 30, 2009

How disgusting can some of these sleazy old Republican men get? They're accusing the Supreme Court nominee of being a racist. Some of these old dinosaurs will never live long enough to overcome their affinity for personal sliminess.

Our Newest Wacko --- A Hoosier Driver!

Kevin Michael Whitesell, 31, of Terre Haute, IN

who allegedly got drunk, turned his car over on its top, went home, got a tractor, began dragging the car home upside down, and landed the whole circus in Otter Creek. 

A complete WACKY success, which he can contemplate from his jail cell.   CLICK

It's Caturday!

sleeping it off 

Friday, May 29, 2009

Add to Your Day -- A stroll backwards

to a much simpler time in music 


Speeling Champyons

Here is the win-place-show for this year's Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee.

1st Kavya Shivashankar

2nd Tim Ruiter

3rd Aishwarya Pastapur


Here is the list of winners in the 21st Century.

2000 George Thampy

2001 Sean Conley

2002 Pratyush Buddiga

2003 Sai R. Gunturi

2004 David Scott Pilarski Tidmarsh

2005 Anurag Kashyap

2006 Katharine Close

2007 Evan O'Dorney

2008 Sameer Mishra

2009 Kavya Shivashankar

Friends Report on May 29

STEVE and BRENDA - spent Memorial Day weekend up north camping. 

AMY - spent Memorial Day weekend in Colorado. 

MARSHA - spent part of the holiday weekend at the beach. 

SANDY - will be spending lots of time in California because of pending marriages and births in the family.  

DASHMANN - says he has one more birthday behind him, or put another way, "One more toe in the grave!"

GIGI - brought doughnuts to the Coffee Club  and has challenged LEN to bring them next time.  He did not answer. 

LIAM - is now 5 months old and determined to both crawl and stand.  He remains the happiest baby anyone can remember.  

TRASE - is eager for the end of school when she can stay home for a couple months and change diapers and so on.  


Some snapshots of folks we know

PAT W watching the Red Wings 

JIM MAN - shows off his escape module

Dawn of a SANDY Morning -


DIG S - sent this Global Language Monitor ranking of American colleges based on how often the schools appeared in the global media, a research company said Thursday.

1. Harvard

2. Columbia

3. Chicago

4. Michigan

5. Stanford

6. Wisconsin

7. Princeton

8. Yale

9. California

10. UC Berkely

SPARTY recommends this short item concerning the Gettysburg Address CLICK

DASHMANN - recommends this from Andy Rooney: CLICK

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — More than 100 people were arrested and 153 injured in the Catalonia region as celebrations turned violent following Barcelona's victory over Manchester United in the Champions League final. Police said 119 arrests were made in Bacelona for public disorder.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

The Loyal Opposition

Here is how one Right-Wing website chose to depict the President's honoring of the troops on Memorial Day.  Thinking that Obama merely makes a pretense of patriotism is a reminder of the attacks made on him by right-wingers (but not , by the way, McCain) during the last election.  They depicted him as being an America-hater. 

When you look at the cartoon, don't miss the caption under it, which has misidentified the holiday as "Veteran's Day."  At  BIRCHES, we usually give extra credit for reliability. These guys won't get any!

Our Commander in Chief wishes you a Happy Veterans Day!

ill health #2

A note from ALICE 

Maybe all the gun owners ought to shoot people who have health problems and solve two or more concerns at once. Insurance companies can then keep collecting premiums from people who don't need their services and the NRA will have lots less opposition. They might even be able to join forces and share the lobby. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hard to argue - making a case

This is Sonia Sotomayor. President Obama has just appointed her to be the next Supreme Court Justice.  

If you study her picture, you will see that she has a proper judicious appearance. She has a certain scholastic aura  about her which will serve her well as she goes about deciding weighty issues like death penalty questions.  No doubt she did well in law school, and no doubt she has a rich history in the courts. Maybe she is the best qualified person in all the world to decided whether a criminal has had all his rights or whether this prayer or that should be spoken in public schools. 

But, some of our readers are of the opinion that if Obama wanted to appoint a Latina woman to serve in high office, he might have chosen --- this lady. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

OK ... I confess.  I don't care who in Britain has the most talent.  Is it Susan Boyle?  Umm ... ahem! ...  I confess again.  

ill health

I think we should move as fast as possible to a national health care system. We're about 4 generations overdue, 4 generations in which the "free enterprise system" has loaded us all down with a horrendous health bill.  We've now reached the point where the system we've allowed to exist is the essential problem, not the ability to deliver good health care to everyone.  How can we contort the current system enough to let everyone be covered? 

 How about a start-over?  

Oh, right!  That's not politically possible.  That's unreasonable.  That's unrealistic. 

Recommended for Memorial Day:   CLICK HERE   

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One conservative source shows these buttons for sale.  Have you seen anyone wearing them? 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What better memorial? 

Stories like this add so much interest to life ...

"Four people were shot Wednesday night, one fatally, at a memorial gathering for a Chicago man shot to death in Calumet City earlier in the day.

"Police said the victims were among a large group near East 94th Street and South Burnside Avenue who had gathered in remembrance of 24-year-old Michael Johnson, who was fatally shot early Wednesday morning following a bar fight in Calumet City." 


Kronwall hit on Havlat

I really don't think there is anything to argue about concerning the hit Niklas Kronwall put on Martin Havlat during the last game.  It was a terrible collision, but absolutely a hit to be expected when one player is crossing with the puck into enemy territory.  Everyone in the world knows, you keep your head up and avoid the hit. 

 The call was a questionable one.  Neither ref's arm went up when the hit was made (as footage in the replay shows).  Not even several seconds after it had occurred.  Rules do allow linesmen to make calls for 5 minute majors.  That may have been the case here.

Even then, the call can still be viewed as questionable.  The puck was in Havlat's skates, and the hit was not from behind.  There was also no elbow, and Kronwall did not jump prior to making contact.  Some can argue that when taking into consideration how hard the hit looked and the damage it inflicted to Havlat, it is tough for the ref not to call something.  However, the 5 minute major call remains questionable.  Do legal hits become illegal when they injure someone?  How hard are you allowed to hit someone?


It's Caturday!

From Marsha:

How to Watch a Red Wings Game

Birthday letter from Dashmann

From a very good long-time friend.


As I approach my 66th anniversary on Earth, especially on this Memorial Day weekend, it saddens me to realize, observing todays events , we , as human beings , are no closer to a peaceful coexistance with our brothers and sisters around the world  and in this great nation than when I arrived on that war torn day in 1943.


Three of my favorite quotations that have probably been around in various wordings during mankind began pretty well illustrate what needs to happen to cure our ills, but I realize now they likely never will.

  1. Jack Nicholson in “Mars Attacks” ; “Why can’t we all just get along?”
  2. Bob Dylan ; “Where have all the flowers gone ??? When will we ever learn ????”
  3. Tony Soprano ; “You don’t have to take it all  --- there’s enough for everbody”


What a great birthday present if those thoughts ever come true.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Who decided who would be waterboarded? 
If we keep the method in our "arsenal" who will decide who will be waterboarded next time? 
Since most forms of punishment are public knowledge (imprisonment, fines, even executions) why weren't the waterboardings public knowledge? 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

first thoughts

Guantanamo and interrogation techniques, continued  

I had the honor to listening to the President and the former Vice President on the same subjects which include a raft of topics relating to Constitutional principles, making war, legal detentions, torture, and so on.  They struck very different tones, working from very different principles. 

The man who demanded that all the operations of the government be made classified and be conducted in secrecy now condemns the President for being dishonest. 

If the only purpose of American government is to protect us against attack , then Cheney is probably right. This is the shallow thinking of some Americans. I have no doubt Cheney is absolutely serious.   

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

letter from Sparty

(Feel free to send your thoughts.)

I, too, am frustrated and disappointed by the president's decision to continue with the Bush military tribunals, although he has added some ingredients of procedural due process.

I am not disappointed by his failure to support a single-payer health system because I never expected him to propose such a system since he had opposed it during his campaign.

An appointed commission to investigate the use of torture during the Bush regime is better than nothing - I suppose. While nobody would argue that the methods used were the equal of those used by the Nazis and Japanese during WW II, that shouldn't be the threshold for punishing those who engage in establishing and carrying out a system of extreme interrogation methods. If it is, then it's not likely that anybody could ever be held responsible for such methods as water boarding. I want those who used these practices punished, whether they were following orders or not. BUT, I also want their superiors punished, and that includes the lawyers such as John Yoo who created the legal justification for the use of torture.

If we fail to hold people responsible for acts in violation of U.S. treaties and international law this time we are establishing the rationale for future use of similar methods.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Friends Report on May 19

Many people around here are talking sports. The Detroit Tigers have seemed to catch fire and now lead their division. They're getting the batters and the pitchers together in the same games, finally.

And the Red Wings are continuing their march toward the Stanley Cup. There was doubt about the defense and doubt about the goalie, Osgood, before the playoffs began, but both are doing a fabulous job.

What some friends are up to

BRENDA and STEVE - took cake and gifts to relatives in Saginaw and spent much of the weekend there. They are dearly loved -- and not just for cake and gifts. Steve helped on a couple of projects. What a hero!

ALICE - says never to go to Bay City without knowing where you're going because nobody there can tell you. She hasn't found anyone in the town who knows where the medical center is. And the sign is hidden behind unpruned foliage. Next she'll try finding her way out of town.

SPARTY - making a hearty effort to keep at least one golf course in business.

MARI at the Redeye - put on her pink suspenders to impress BOB, but he never showed up to appreciate it.


AMY, aka Mrs Mike - has decided to take a buyout and retire early. Welcome to the club, dear!

BILL from WNNCO - says that modern cars have become so safe that drivers can drive ever more idiotically and eescape with their lives. He says people forget that they have only a certain reaction time. It takes a half a second to respond to conditions. "That pile of fat and shit between the ears can only do so much!"

From JERRY -

Some Snapshots

At Dawn's, GIGI and LINDSAY


Right here in our neighborhood is proof, don't put a hot grill in a garage.
Click on the picture to enlarge it. duhh

Weary crew rests after patching (finally) "the worst pothole in the state of Michigan." 

The Big D.

The World Wildlife Federation is predicting a disastrous loss of coral reefs in the Pacific due to global warming.

CLICK for more

Barney Fife Award -- May 19

Thanks to Brenda for this lead.

Award to the WARREN MICHIGAN Police Department -- 

which sent 10 officers to deal with a "cougar" that had been reported on the loose.  They ended up tasering a stuffed animal in a storm drain.  The victims of a hoax, evidently, they claim  they're "out there to keep the community safe." 

Monday, May 18, 2009

This is the anniversary, most American historians will tell you,  of the worst decision ever made by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which branded black people as "inferior" under American law for 60 years, even though the Court avoided using that word.  

May 18 -- "buds" on the Birches

Things I  talk about and take positions on because I'm a long-time voter in the world's greatest democracy.

The decision  by Obama to go ahead and use Military Tribunals to try some of the Guantanamo prisoners is not acceptable to this voter.  Yep, I believed we would have a resolution to the whole Guantanamo thing long before this, and along the lines he campaigned on: trials or release.  
This is just one of several areas where Obama has disappointed me, personally, as one of his voters. Another one is his abandoning of the single-payer health care concept.  Am I going to stop supporting him?  Not yet, despite the disappointments.  But if he calls and asks me how he's doing, I'll give him a B-minus on credibility.
Why does Arlen Specter give me the feeling that I should run and get the antibacterial soap?  Possibly it's because he's such a grungy, creepy guy. 
Could Nancy Pelosi be lying about what she knew about water-boarding?  
Could the CIA be lying?  
To be honest (will I be considered a freak for this?) I don't believe either of them, and I don't care to start parsing the degree to which either is truthful.  Why has my government been torturing people?  Why didn't everyone know  - politicians, bureaucrats, sneaky spies, and all the citizenry?  We should have been told, period, and our officials should at least have had the wherewithal to find out about it.  This  is what we should expect and demand. This is a democracy and I want my government to behave like it! 
Now stop the torture! 
I have thought a long and (in-so-far-as possible)  hard time about what our friend Sparty said concerning putting on trial everyone who might have known about or participated in water-boarding. I've been fully in favor of a thorough investigation -- by an independent commission.  I have accepted Obama's decision to not pursue any of the operatives.  I want the policy makers.  This crime does not rise to the level of what we saw in World War II.  I simply don't accept that comparison. But, I hope we - through a commission - go after the top decision makers - whoever they are. 

Click on cartoon to enlarge it.
CLICK for Booth website

Barney Fife Award

to the
police department

For arresting a woman on a subway escalator for failing to hold the rail. When she objected that they were "horrible" and "disgusting"they also cited her for obstruction.

Even the transportation police (Societe de Transport de Montreal) thought this was out of line.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

See more from David Horsey CLICK

Last anti-Chavez TV station faces probe, shutdown

Add to Your Day -- A little "high Kitsch" (but fun)

Saturday's Eurovision winner

and this, from Britain

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Add to my hate list of disgusting, revolting people - which includes among others Madonna, Billy Mays, that freecreditreportdotcom guy, Barbara Bush and her spawn George W., and Ted Haggart -  this new member: Chris Pronger.  

It's Caturday!

What is more peaceful than a dozing kitten? 

Friday, May 15, 2009

note: thanks to Sparty, Irish Mike, and Dashmann for offering answers to the question: Which state capital has the largest population.  Answer is:  Phoenix.  

Goodbye Sharon Gabriel

Courage and
strength come 
in many ways. 
A HEADLINE seen this morning:
Spanish study shows traces of cocaine, other drugs in the air in Madrid, Barcelona

No wonder we enjoyed Spain so much ---

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

In our country 
even the smallest 
may make a statement 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Many people have said that Wanda Sykes was "out of line" or "over-the-top" or some such, in her comments made at the Correspondents' Dinner, about Rush Limbaugh.

I don't agree. There is no more sharp-tongued, snake-like, mouthy entertainer extant than Limbaugh, and there is nothing that hurts his feelings. He is wearing the armor of the bully and the smartmouth. Whenever I think  about him, I hope there is a vengeful God.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

welcome our new Wacko

Victoria/Australia Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin (who is evidently a close kin to Uncle Fester) and his co-emergency functionaries.

Just in case you were wondering if the United States has a monopoly on organizational stupidity, here's this story.

BLACK SATURDAY is an expression used for the weekend in Australia when wildfires killed dozens of people in that country. In fact, it proved to be the worst fire disaster in the nation's history. The warning sirens were not sounded that night, sirens which might have prepared folks to flee the catastrophe.

Why weren't the sirens used? Because officials didn't want to overuse them. They were saving them for an emergency. Ta-DA!

CLICK for story

Friends Report on May 13

We went for a swell evening with DASHMANN and SKUZZA to see Asleep At The Wheel, at the Ark in Ann Arbor. It was a great time. The dinner beforehand was good, the music was fun, and the company cheerful and witty. It was a little chilly in Ann Arbor, but the University town atmosphere of Main Street is wonderful despite the degrees. Now that spring has come to Michigan, there is some hope that we'll have a really good summer.

That's my hope for all of you.

BUD - bumper sticker seen: Guns Don't Kill People! Fathers with beautiful daughters do.

GIGI- recommends this article by Maureen Dowd about Elizabeth Edwards -- and, particularly, husband John's affair. CLICK

DASHMANN - suggests that it's possible that the surgical mask manufacturers are behind the swine flu scare.

IRISH MIKE - reports that despite the bad economy, his son has suddenly received a good summer job thanks to the President's "stimulus package." So, in this one corner, it's beginning to work.

PAT W - advises this: Don't ever go to Parkersburg West Virginia. It's an awful place. It's kind of a dirty little valley to begin with and then some engineer has screwed everything up with a nightmare road system.

LINDA - regaled the coffee club with this story: When she told her mother that she was planning on going to Paris, her mother was astounded. "You don't want to go there. Your Dad went there and he hated it." Retort: "That was during the war. Everyone hated it!"

JERRY- forwards an email he received advising us all top start buying more American made products. There is a simple way to do this: So my challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made in the USA - the job you save may be your own or your neighbor's!

MIKE THE ADMINISTRATOR - tells a joke that got him booed: What do you name a child born between cannons on a British war ship? A "son of a gun.." His membership in the human race is now being reconsidered.

LIAM - has started turning over.

SANDY - is to become a grandmother. It's already identified as a boy.

SPARTY - recommends a fun but pointed opinion from the New Yorker Magazine which suggests that there are some advantages to letting the southern states secede again as the Governor of Texas has suggested. EXCERPT:
A more intimately sized Congress would briskly enact sensible gun control, universal health insurance, and ample support for the arts, the humanities, and the sciences.


BILL FROM WNNCO- forwards this joke:
It was once said that a black man would be president “when pigs fly.”
Indeed, 100 days into Obama’s presidency…. Swine Flu


Some more snapshots

MARSHA modeling new "garden party" outfit:

It's just a joke, arranged by Grandpa


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2 "buds" from the birch tree

After running some errands, mowing the lawn and watching an episode of "Rome" and before I head for Ann Arbor to meet wife and friends, I take computer in hand and offer two opinions. As always, your responses and contributions are welcomed.

King Abdullah of Jordan has said that if the U.S. (and Obama) fails this year to get a settlement on the Palestinian matter, there will be a war in a year or so. The Middle East will erupt, he says. The whole world will be drawn into the calamity.

I hope he is wrong, because Obama cannot be expected to work miracles where so many former American governments have failed. On the other hand, other Presidents have made some great advances in settling matters over there. In fact, President Carter shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, and it is said that Clinton came within a hair's breadth of a settlement just before he left office. The problem os course has been that in the past few years, the crisis has boiled repeatedly to a hot steam. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and injured. If the U.S. really is the only force which can bring a settlement to the area, then we have shirked our responsibility shamefully recently. Instead making matters worse in Iraq, we should have expended our resources more fruitfully in making peace, not war.

This was another grave error from the wasted years that bastard was in the White House.


Call me a dirty old man if you wish --- please. Seems to me the problem for Miss California is not that there are half nude pictures of her out and about on the internet, but that they are only half nude. "Half nude" is what she was at the Beauty Pageants. Give us something to drool over. Surely we
can improve
on this.


This is an apology to IRISH MIKE for stealing that little picture of his rowing crew. Now I have stolen the big picture and here it is: (And clicking on it will make it even bigger!)

changing the rules

I picked this up online, from an erstwhile acquaintance of mine.

The Four Laws of Gun Safety

1. All firearms are loaded. Always.

2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it.

It seems to me that this cannot possibly be all the rules of gun safety. How about this:

RULE 5 You shall not shoot your relatives. Especially your kids.

RULE 6 You shall not shoot other drivers even if they deserve it. After all, most drivers are dumb and mentally disturbed just like you.

RULE 7 You shall not shoot stop sings and other roadside guides.

RULE 8 You shall not shoot insulators out of power poles.

RULE 9 You shall not shoot the small critters of the countryside just to watch them blow up.

Any of you readers like to add to this list?


And JERRY sends this visual aid for an example of poor parenting, and really bad gun safety behavior.

Monday, May 11, 2009

a light through the leaves

"la vida se vive mejor a una velocidad cómoda"